Horrors! “Olympics: Controversy in Iran over female flag carrier,” from Adnkronos International, August 8:
Tehran, 8 August (AKI) – Iranian religious figures have criticised that Olympic female rower Homa Hosseini was chosen as the flagbearer of Iran, calling the move a ‘heresy’.
“To make a woman march with the flag of the Islamic Republic in Beijing, is pure heresy and shows total disobedience of the laws mandated by our spiritual guides,” said Seyye Ahmad Elmalhoda, leader of Friday prayers in Iran’s holy city of Mashad.
Hosseini, 19, grew up in Iran’s Kermanshah province in western Iran, she is one of three Iranian female competitors at the Olympic Games and Iran’s first ever female rower. The other two female competitors are Najmeh Abtin (archery) and Sara Khosjamal (Tae Kwon Do).
“To make this woman march means to openly declare war to our religious values. Whoever is responsible for this unforgivable act, he should know that this gesture constitutes an obstacle for the ‘appearance’ of Mahdi,” said Elmalhoda.
He was referring to the mainly Shia Islam belief that imam Mohammed al-Mahdi will appear to fight a final apocalyptic battle over the forces of evil.
Followers believe he was born in the year 868 and has been in hiding ever since awaiting a decision from god to reappear.